Coming Out Later In Life: Are You Curious or Serious?

by Mary Gorham Malia

Coming out? When did you come out?

It’s a common question in the land of queer. How long have you been out? Are you all the way out? Does your family know? Do your coworkers know? Do your friends know? Who knows and who doesn’t know? How committed are you to the lifestyle? Loving women and living as a woman lover?

There are lots of unspoken rules in the land of queer. And depending on the unspoken and unwritten rules, you’ll succeed or fail in some significant ways.

Photo 4312 Coming Out Later In Life: Are You Curious or Serious?

Mary Malia - Your Gay Girl Dating Coach

Are you femme? Are you butch? Are you something in between? Have you ever been with a man? Were you married? Do you have kids? Did you like sex with a man? Do you miss it? Do you like penetration? Do you hate the idea of penetration? How many partners have you had? And on it goes.

These are just a few of the questions that come up between women in the process of exploring relationship. It all depends on your past and what’s happened. It depends on the woman on the other side of the table and what her past is about. Our experiences shape our present and determine our futures.  Do guys ask these questions? Damn if I know. I’m not a guy and I haven’t been hanging out that close to gay men to find out.

As a woman who came out later in life, I’ve met lesbians that don’t want to date me because there is an ex-husband and children. I’ve also met women that wanted to date me and in spite of my being honest and upfront about my past had issues with the ex-husband and my children as time went on.

Sometimes it feels like there is no winning for losing in some conversations. I continue to meet many women that have come out later in life. It’s a phenomenon that I think we will always see. Perhaps it will happen less when sperm donation becomes an easier and less expensive option for younger women. But it’s also going to take a lot more work being done on equal rights for both men and women to decide they don’t need to “pretend to be straight” to have a family and kids.

But what I really want to say here today is that coming out later in life is not simple. It’s not easy either. It’s definitely not what most women expect when they decide to come out. I’ve had more than a few conversations with women who had an idea in their head about what it would be like to finally come out. To leave their husbands and their marriage and risk all to be with a woman.

I admit that the movie I was running in my head when I came out was not at all what happened in real life. My movie included me and a woman I viewed as beautiful being together. We had a sweet house and animals and maybe a child or two (one was mine and the other her’s) who got along so well. We had beautiful music playing all the time, we always wanted to do the same things at the same time, we moved and breathed at the same pace and believed all the same things about life. She was soft. Soft lips with no pointy prickly beard bristles and we would melt into each other’s soft bodies to make love that would last for hours.

Oh and did I mention that there would be beautiful music playing all the time. It would just be in the air, like the smell of ylang ylang when you walk into a spa. And we would talk softly and about deep things except for the times when we would laugh with abandon. And did I mention that there would always be romantic music playing, floating through the air.

We’d be so happy and content. We’d enjoy and share all that life has to offer. Even enjoying all the same foods and sharing dinners together every evening.

Did I mention that this didn’t happen? No, it didn’t happen for me. It’s not my story of coming out. In my story, yes I fell in love and then my heart was broken. Now that’s not unusual is it? My first love didn’t want me after all. It didn’t take long, just 3 short months and that first love had fallen apart. She had warned me that there was a process to coming out and she’d been there and done it. She also at one point talked about wanting to share this season of my life with me, but that didn’t happen. We parted ways and I was off to figure it out on my own.

What a mess I felt I’d created. I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of changes after being married for 21 years. No one had really helped me understand the “rules” of the lesbian community and when I ran into them face first, it was one more thing that broke my heart. I just didn’t understand why women didn’t want to get to know me or be friends. Ok, I was pretty naive. I’d forgotten about 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade girls. Yeah, it can be just like that if you’re trying to hang out with the wrong crowd.

The therapist I was seeing actually fell asleep on me one day. Yes, really. That was the end of that relationship. It was one more thing that hurt too deeply. I moved into a neighborhood that was very gay friendly with plenty of queers living there. Actually it was the same neighborhood my exe girlfriend was living in. She’d wanted me to live close but at the point of my moving just three blocks from her, she broke up with me.

So I’m living in this really queer friendly part of town, but still I wasn’t able to easily meet women for friendship and just to hang out. It was still before the days of and dating sites where just coming online. It was a lonely place to be at that time for me.

I’m sure one issue was that I looked too straight. I looked like someone who’d been married and was heterosexual. Well that makes sense right. I’d only been out for a year and I was still finding my way out of the old world and slowly walking into a new world with its own set of rules and expectations.

My experience of the lesbian world in those first few years showed me that its as full of rules as the heterosexual world. It’s just that the rules are different and sometimes particularly surprising for a newbie to the land of queer. One of those unspoken rules is that a woman that came out when she was young and is now a bit older often doesn’t want to date women who are just coming out of long term heterosexual relationships.

Like many late to the game lesbians, I was hurt by this “rule” when I first learned about it. As my lesbian life experience has grown, I now get it.  It makes complete sense to me that life long lesbians just want to protect their hearts from women who may just be curious versus serious. There’s a lot of video and TV time being given to the idea of two women being together. In the land of queer where the lesbians live, its not a game show or a reality show, it’s real life with real hearts and real emotions.

For those of you that have realized late in life that you must own your self and that your truth is living as lesbian, I salute you. You will and have taken many brave steps to get to where you are. This in no way diminishes the courage of the women that have always lived their lives out in the open. The truth is that the courage of those that have always taken a stance for lesbian freedom are our heroines. Those are the women that helped me finally realize that I must live my truth. Thank you again for you courage, for your lives lived in the open and your voices.

Additionally have some mercy for the late to life lesbians as we stumble and perhaps bumble about trying to figure out what to do and with who and when. You are probably tired of women like me, but we’re not going away. Actually you can probably expect more and more of us to be showing up and in that deluge of late to life lesbians, we will be able to solve the problem of there not being enough lesbians to date!

How’s that for a turn-around?


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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon 1981 April 4, 2012 at 2:15 AM

What a charming article! As you well know my story doesn’t really line up here, but I’ll tell it anyway, because telling coming out stories is one of my favorite things to do! Anyway, here goes.

I’ve always been totally, obviously gay. I had my first “crush” on a girl in Sunday school when I was four. She had gorgeous white blonde hair, and she let me play with it lol. Around that time, even though I didn’t know what it was, when when I became acutely aware that something was “different.”There was definitely a difference in the way I viewed other little girls and the way they viewed me and each other.

By the time I was 7, the word “queer” was being shouted at me on a regular basis, and the folks in my family-my utterly, hopelessly, deeply religious family- were whispering about me being “that way.” By the time I was 12, there was absolutely no doubt. I wound up in one of those crazy ex gay places for awhile. Of course it didn’t work, but it did plenty of damage. By this point, I pretty much screamed it, and at 14, I was outed at school and never went back in. I found out everyone knew because I arrived to the 9th grade one morning in early October 1996 to the word “fag” spray painted on my locker. After that, life was a living hell for any number of reasons, including but not limited to locker room beat downs, having eggs thrown at me, and suicide attempts. But, as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and, looking back, I am glad I stayed out and didn’t deny it, even though the road would have been easier if I had. It saved me a lot of grief over a lot of things, despite the hardships.

As for the rules-Mary, I know you know them by now. You’ve done a splendid job with this site and your service to ladies who took the path less traveled. To the rest of you- queers are just as judgmental as heterosexuals, maybe even more so. Its a closed club and your pass is earned, not given. At the top of the list of said judgmental people are so called “Gold Star” lesbians- those who have never been with a dude. Even the very brief, sexless besides a sexual assault, sham of an ordeal I had with a dude used to get me questioned, until I finally got up the nerve to start telling people the truth: that I had used this man because I wanted to save my relationship with my family, that I didn’t have sex with him, and that the only time it happened it wasn’t consensual. Yep, that’s how it is. But never fear, there ARE tons of women out there just like you, with similar paths and experiences. You just have to find them. Hats off to all of you for your bravery. Visiting Mary’s awesome space here is a great way to get started.


Sophie Navarro April 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Hi Mary,
This speaks to me on so many levels. Thank you! Your site is so thoughtful, helpful and makes me realize I am not alone. I am one that has come out later and was married as well. I have a 2 year old now. I have been getting help from my ex-husband and we’re redefining how to parent our child.

In the meantime, I am trying to focus on myself, clean up my finances, find new hobbies and learn how to embrace who I am. It is not easy that’s for sure. However, through my art (comic strips) I have found a way to express my dating experiences and my thoughts on love and/relationships. It’s helped me analyze the different parts of myself and I am discovering I’m still a hopeful romantic. However, I also realize that I still have so much work to do. I don’t mean like “Fixing myself” but more like on a deeper level. This will be good to get all the baggage out of the way so I am clearer, more aware of what I want in a relationship. I have so much to give. Yet, need to learn to go slow, be patient and know that I am a mom first. Thank you for your article! xoxox Sophie Navarro


Mary April 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Hi Sophie,
Congrats on taking so many big steps to live authentically in your life. Be sure to remember to breath. In and out. A lot! And time will work it’s magic and it will get easier and better. I love your comics and look forward to collaborating!


drumdiva April 5, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Mary, this article touched on a nerve. I’ve been trying lately to “fit in” with the lesbian community, but I just can’t seem to do it. I’m sick of being judged – I’ve also been told that I look “too straight”, and lesbians often assume that I’m married. They’ve also told me that I look “unapproachable”, what ever that means. Other lesbians sometimes seem to be jealous, too – they tell me that I should set my sights low because no beautiful woman would ever want me. Maybe she’s right – lots and lots of men seem to want me, but not women. Bisexual women are interested for a short time, but they always wind up with men. I’m really attracted to bi women, but it’s difficult to find a bi woman who wants to be with me. Frankly, lesbians turn me off. And I AM a lesbian – I don’t identify as bi because I’m not attracted to men. I love men, but not in bed. I really don’t know what to do because “the rules” and the judgement just make me want to throw in the towel and give up hope of ever trying to find someone.


D. October 3, 2012 at 9:31 PM

I could have written all of this myself.

Furthermore, after a lifetime of cutting my teeth on male-female relationships and learning to rein in my worst, I had a pretty good gasp of boundaries and how not to be that stalker chick or that crazy ex-girlfriend. I learned how to give another person space and how to be happy on my own to some degree. I’ve had a hard time meeting lesbian women who are emotionally very balanced or mature.

My ideal woman would probably be someone with similar experience.


mo May 2, 2012 at 9:49 PM

This………..awesome. Finally finding someone (and others) who’ve also found themselves arriving late to the dance and having to face an incredibly bewildering ‘learing curve’ for navigating the land of lesbians ! Over the past two years, I’ve waited patiently for my ‘playbook’ to arrive in the mail—complete with the secret handshake and magic decoder ring—but still nothing, even though I sent in my dues (LOL). Add to that living in a smallish conservative community, in a midwestern conservative state (don’t get me started on the politics!), and being an introvert with a very small circle of straight friends (some who know, others who don’t) has, at times, pushed me to the brink of just giving up and living out the rest of my life as a hermit. Then I’ll run across something that gives me hope again…like this blog ! Yay ! Thankyouthankyouthankyou !!!


tasha May 3, 2012 at 2:00 AM

Drumdiva sounds like me is it femme are harder ti find than butch


karen May 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM

I don’t feel quite so dismal after reading that. Add transitioning transsexual woman on top of that and it gets even more complex. I have lots of lesbian friends, more friends is not what I want. I get sick of people telling me how great I am, I want them to ask me out!



Mary May 16, 2012 at 5:51 AM

Hi Karen,
Wherever we go there we are and learning to create your own happiness is key to wherever we are in life. I wish you all the best!!


Jo July 30, 2012 at 2:24 AM

I just found this website after having such a hard time accepting what I am going through. It has made me feel significantly better. I am 34 and have just started realizing that I am attracted to women a little over a year ago. I have always had a good circle of gay and straight friends. The friends that were gay i support completely, then and now. am seriously struggling with this transition. I live in a small Midwestern town where everyone knows everyone and my family also lives here. I have never been married, but have had many male relationships, which have never been a problem, but nothing has ever clicked for me until now. Now I have met a women that I have fallen in love with and want to see a future with, and she loves me and wants the same things from me. She is beautiful, smart,big hearted, an makes me wanna be a better person. I work in education and in this small community this type of sexuality is frowned upon. My parents have always been a huge part in my life as well as my married brother. My family is shocked and I do not know how to handle their confusion and help them understand what I am feeling, mostly my brother and father. I want to continue my life with her, but am really needing their support. I am not asking that they be excited for me or overjoyed, but happy that I am happy. I am also trying to figure out if I may need to move or get another job in a town where it is more socially acceptable. It has crossed my mind to just walk away and give up because of how hard it has been on me, my girlfriend (because of what I am going through), and my family. This has been so emotionally hard on me and breaks me down and times. I try and be strong and say it will all work out, but it has been a hard road this far. The good thing about it is that my partner is there holding my hand and supporting me all the way, even when I tend to distance myself because I try and not let her know how hard it is on me. I would love some advice on my situation and struggles. Thank you so very much for putting this information out and thank you for making this so much easier to see that other women such as myself are going through some of the same things.


Mary July 30, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Hi Jo,
First congratulations on finding your truth. Your truth does not need to line up with your family’s version of truth. Also you’ve been dealing with this a lot longer than your family. Give them time and space. When they see you are happy and your life is good, they will come around. Really they will.

They’ve known you for 37 years as their straight daughter who would marry and have kids. They are grieving the loss of the daughter they knew, just as you are grieving the loss of the simple relationship you had with them. They don’t have a new found love to make them feel better and realize being true to yourself is best. But if you stand your ground with love, they will eventually find a way to be ok with you.

If moving is a real option you should consider it. Living someplace where you feel more free to express your new found lesbian self can be a wonderful experience. Many lgbt people take this route to freedom of expression, especially those that live in small towns that are conservative.

Congrats on your bravery. Sometimes in order to be faithful to ourselves we must be unfaithful to those we love. I believe our first duty as individuals is to be our most honest self.

hugs, Mary


kim August 10, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Hi Mary,
Thank you for sharing your story, I feel like I am living your life and came out in a similar fashion and had the troubled lesbian relationship that didn’t last and am now alone and trying to figure out the rules and find my way. I was married for 25 years, 2 kids and lots of problems and heartache along the way to this coming out process. But now, life can still be painful, but Im here and Im queer, and want to live life authentically. I love your website and look to it for support. Thank you


Ana Maria August 14, 2012 at 4:30 AM

Hi Mary, i am so loving reading all your posts, they are so full of very important information for me, Thank you!!!
I must say, I must be a lucky girl in relation to being accepted to the Lesbian community with open arms….
On the suggestion of a straight female friend I went on dating websites to try and connect with Lesbians..I wasn’t going to go to a pub and being in a new city and not knowing any guy people well the only choice…So I joined one (not a gay site) and posted photos and a bit of a blurb about me, I found a Lesbian whom I thought had things in common and contacted her, so we exchanged emails for a bit and she agreed to have coffee with me some time….when I approached her about it I didn’t hear back from her! I decided to search for actual Lesbian dating sites and found 2 and joined. One site was free the other I payed for one months subscription. After so many rejections and about to give up, one girl accepted my offer to go and have a coffee. wow just in the nick of time my payed membership was ending in 2 days!!
We met and we are know great friends phewww!( it was “funny” when i was out with my new friend at a gay night club who did we bump into the girl that never got back to me…poor thing she was mortified even though I was very friendly with her!). Through this site I received an email about a Lesbian group so I contacted them back and mentioned that I was new at this and wasn’t sure about going to their meetings…to my delight I was told that I would be very welcomed and that it would be the perfect place for me to join!! well I love this group , they made me feel so ,so welcomed and I know feel like I belong for the first time ever in my life!! Growing up I was never in the “in” groups , never went out, NEVER had a boyfriend ( until the age of 19 and he became my husband 2 years later!) , never went to parties etc. I was always invisible!! I migrated to Australia with my family at the age of 17 and know I was adding ‘foreigner” to my portfolio !!
Even though through my husband I made loads of friends , whom I adore I never quite “fit” in…didn’t know why…until 3 years ago something just changed and I started to realize that wasn’t happy with my “straight” life. I had been nursing my husband for almost 4 years , he was know dying and I was literally drowning! I had decided that when he recovered I was going to leave him, we had been together for 32 years and even though I had loved him I just couldn’t live like this! it so happened that the Universe had an ‘easier” path for me…my husband passed away and therefore I didn’t have to hurt him by leaving him….a year after he died I sold up and moved interstate and started my new life.It will be 2 years since he passed away this October. My 2 daughters live here as well and my son moved back up were we lived before…I haven’t come out to them as yet I will when the time is right. I am loving who I am, and although I wasn’t 100% sure I was a Lesbian, I now know I am. I haven’t had a romantic date as yet, but now I feel like I fit into my “suit”, I belong , i am no longer invisible and I am loving my life!! I am 53 and having the best time in my life!!
Thank you Mary so much for being here and helping newbies like me learn all about being a gay girl!!!


Jan November 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM

I’m so glad I found you!!!
I’m still in the half-world, stumbling along, trying to find my way through. I’m as confused and awkward as I was at 19, still a virgin, and doing and saying all the wrong things. I’m reeling because the woman I fell in love with moved away to start a new life. I never told her how I feel because by the time I’d figured it out, she’d moved on. She’s not the first woman I’ve felt an strong attraction to, I know now these feelings aren’t going away.
I’m 61 and have been in a committed relationship with my 86 year-old male partner for the last 15 years. This partner has been always supportive of me, but I don’t know how to talk to him about this new “wrinkle”, or even if I should.
I’m still looking for the light at the end of this tunnel, and it’s so good to know about other women who are at different stages of their journeys.


Adrienne February 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

I loved this post. For quite some time, I have been struggling with my sexual orientation and making vain attempts to either define or deny it. While I am not quite at the point of “entering” the world of lesbians or being scrutinized by its rules and judgments, just accepting the fact that I am attracted to women has my head reeling about what to do next. I first realized that I was attracted to females around junior high, while at the same time being thrust into the world of straight puberty and the strict gendered expectations that come with it, especially having grown up in the uber-traditional American South. I had many gay friends in high school and college, even a couple of clumsy and mishandled make out sessions with girls here and there. But I only dated men. And rather unsuccessfully. I chalked up these difficulties, both sexual and social, to having been a victim of sexual assault in my early adolescence. Any sexual attraction toward my boyfriends waned very quickly and any subsequent sexual activity was an obligatory chore that bred resentment and humiliation. In my mid twenties, things began to change. In between straight relationships, I began to have sexual encounters with women, but only in situations where men were present. More than one of those encounters were with women that I felt very close and attracted to, and the man’s presence was merely an unfortunate obstacle. But such flings don’t define sexual orientation, and as many have pointed out, were more evidence of a media culture that glorifies the femme, girl-on-girl Hollywood porn picture of lesbian life. Beautiful women getting on to entertain a man. But that’s not what it was for me. I continued to have unsuccessful, uncomfortable, unfulfilling, and often emotionally damaging relationships with men until recently. At 32, I just got out of one that was more damaging than any thing else I have experienced. Despite being attracted emotionally and physically to women, I have never stepped into that world and actively sought a relationship with a woman, and rarely acted on desires I have had on female friends, no matter how tempting. When I hear you describe your lofty expectations of what that relationship might look, smell, and feel like, it struck a chord with me. I do not want to fall prey to the “grass is greener on the other side” mindset. I have no reason to think that I would be more successful in a relationship with a woman than I have with men, nor do I want to delude myself into thinking that same sex relationships are immune to heartache, deception, drama, rejection, and misunderstanding that goes on everywhere else. But I have to give it a try. Constantly waging war against the role I’m expected to play in a straight relationship is destroying me. Has anyone been through this?


aa April 15, 2014 at 3:11 PM

I have not been through this, but I am going through something right now… Through my entire life I have believed that I am straight. I am attracted to men. I enjoy sex with men. However, for the past couple years I have had an interest in more ‘butch’ (for lack of a better term) women. I wasn’t sure why, and still denied any possibility of actually being attracted to a woman (because butch women look more like men than femme women, so I can justify that I’m really just attracted to men, and maybe some women who look like men, right? … wrong). Then, back in September of 2013 I had an encounter with a beautiful (and definitely more femme than butch) woman. She was amazing. Kind. Gentle. Intelligent. Funny. Did I mention beautiful? Nothing sexual happened between us, but I was intoxicated enough to let her in on my recent sexual confusion, which I have not shared with another single soul, except her (straight) friend who was also with us. [[Oh, it doesn't help that my parents have told me, since I was young, that I am probably a lesbian -- and I have several queer relatives.]] Anyways, through that night, we kind of got close on the couch and cuddled a bit before we ended up falling asleep until her alarm went off, and she and her friend got a cab home. EVER SINCE THAT NIGHT I cannot get her out of my head…and I am in a deeply committed heterosexual relationship with a man whom I love. Aside from this woman, I have since been attracted to a couple other women and every time I get that “feeling” (you know the one) I get so confused. I am started to identify myself as bisexual (because I still am attracted to men, and enjoy sex with men). However, I have *never* had a sexual experience with a woman. When my friends in high school were making out with each other for the entertainment of our male friends, I thought it was idiotic and never partook. I have never kissed a woman. And I had never touched any woman (except the one mentioned above), and felt anything. I really wouldn’t want a woman to feel like I was just “experimenting”. It’s not an experimentation thing. I have a legitimate attraction to women… and men. And the fact that I am in a long-term relationship with a man I love and care about doesn’t make this any easier. I just don’t know what to do, and I don’t have anyone to talk to about it.

Thank you, Mary, for writing this…
And thank you to Adrienne for sharing your story.


JM March 1, 2013 at 12:13 AM

Is there any advise for those of us who are in love with someone who is in a long term heterosexual marriage in which that person loves and would like to be with me but can’t because of the kids and grand kids and the turmoil it may cause to the family unit? She is a wreck and so am I because I hate to continue the relationship knowing that this is a HUGE change in her life and may not have the happy outcome…how can I better support her if she chooses me over him and the kids? What advise should I or could I be able to give her in this difficult time?


Felix J March 4, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Stumbled across your site today for the first time, Mary and have to say you’ve got something really wonderful here. I’ve been on this journey of embracing my sexuality for two years now. Its been amazing and terrifying and completely insane. The main thing that has gotten me through is connecting with other brave women who have gone before me. Supporting each other and sharing our stories is so incredibly important and can make a tremendous difference in someone’s journey. Your post was exactly what I needed to read today…thank you so much.


Mary March 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Embracing your true self and the journey to living an authentic life is definitely hard at times. I’m glad you found Gay Girl Dating Coach and that you’ve found community along the way to support you.

Best wishes, Mary


SpeakingTheTruth July 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM

very obvious why us straight guys can’t meet a good woman anymore these days.


Mary July 13, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Joe, there are plenty of straight women to go around! Far more than there are lesbians. Of the world population of women, only 5% are lesbian. Your dating problem is not a lesbian problem. :-). Mary


LB September 10, 2013 at 12:21 AM

WOW, just wow! I can’t believe this site is here and that I found it!
I married my high school sweetheart and we had 1 child. We divorced after 5 years of marriage. I was heartbroken he cheated on me and left. I have been married to my second husband for 21 years. We did not have any children. He is a good man, BUT I had been feeling disconnected from him for quit some time. I just chalked it up to being together so long. I was yearning for a different life but, I just didn’t know what. I became very depressed. I had dated men between marriages. Dating a woman never even entered my mind. Of course there were fleeting moments of wondering what it would be like, but just curiosity. Thought no way I could feel the same way about women as I did a men. Then SHE came along and I fell hard. Such and overwhelming attraction and it was very obvious she felt the same way. I didn’t know her sexual orientation, I suspected maybe, but she seemed to like men. We couldn’t help but flirt with each other. She seemed that she very much wanted to be my friend I was more than happy to have a close friend. Within a few weeks of meeting and talking. I found out she had lived with a much older woman than her for 8 years. This relationship started when she was 17 and the woman 43 and married with children. Their relationship ended when my friend cheated on her with a man. She went on to have other lesbian relationships. We talked and spent as much time with each other as we could. We started a sexual relationship. It did not feel weird or awkward. I was on cloud nine, finally I had found my soul mate. We confessed our love for each other and wondered what the hell we were going to do. We both knew my life would be turned upside down if I ended my marriage to be with her, but we were both so infatuated with each other we didn’t want to give up what we had. I even thanked God for putting her in my life. She made a CD of songs for me that melted my heart. No man had ever done that for me. I was over the moon. We road around in her car listening to it and holding hands. Two days later she broke it off with me. She said she woke up that morning and had a bad feeling and a knowing that what we were doing was wrong. Not because I was married, but because we were the same sex and in that was wrong according to the Bible. Really?????? That was over a year ago and I am just now getting to the point of not feeling devastated. When I see other woman together I feel jealous of their relationship. My relationship with my husband is like living with a brother I cringe when he wants to touch me sexual. So what does this mean? Can I be straight most of my life and change when I am in my forties?


CE November 24, 2013 at 5:24 AM

I’ve been married 10 years…. and just realized in the last year that I have been in love with women in ways I never loved my husband. Spending many adult years recovering from religious and physical abuse in my childhood put me far behind my peers. Now I’ve left my husband and realized that it isn’t normal to have to get drunk to have sex. I realized that I was in love with women in my life during this time, but didn’t realize it. I want to be a part of community, but don’t know how to start.


Mary November 24, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Hi CE,
Well what I recommend to all women is to find where the lesbians are is to google “lgbt meetup” and your city or area. Also google “lgbt social groups” and see what comes up. Then get out there and start making friends! Along with finding a relationship, the most important thing a newly out woman can do, is start to build friendships with other lesbians. It’ll help you so much to have women to hang out with, talk to, learn from who aren’t going to be a girlfriend or lover. Good luck CE! xo, Mary


Melanie February 1, 2014 at 2:28 PM

OMG! So I’m not the only one. Wow-what a wonderful discovery. I mean, your head knows but until you see it, it’s not real. I’ll be 50 in a couple weeks and have Finally admitted and accepted that I am a lesbian. Did I mention that I’m married with 2 kids. After a big knock-down drag-out fight , I got up the courage to tell him and was amazed by the results, he actually is giving me the freedom to find “myself” find out if that’s what I want. He wants to stay together for the kids, for now at least. So now what to do? I don’t have any gay friends and only sites like this for info. This is the first that I’ve even considered writing to. Thanks for all the good ideas and stories. I look forward to some company on this journey.


kelly February 4, 2014 at 4:47 PM

I found this blog doing an online search I am not sure what to do. Even though I consistently fell for boys when young and married a man 7 years ago, I still only fantasize about women and did not find men sexually attractive. As a teenager the first time I orgasamed was while seeing a naked women on TV even though I had been sexually active with my boyfriend for a few years. Only about once a month do I want to have sex with my husband around ovulation but I still need to fantasize about women to orgasam. I have never been in love with a friend or women though. I cant figure myself out and I only experienced a women while under the influence of a lot of drugs in college, I enjoyed it but felt guilty and never went there again. Now I am married with kids and feel confused. I have never been able to orgasam with a man unless i think of women in my head. Any advice appreciated.


Nickelyn March 2, 2014 at 10:34 PM

Hi, am 22 and I think I knew I was someone who liked girls at a very early age, but I never really did anyting about it because of my friends and family.I always ignored it saying it was just a phase in my life that I will soon grow out of, but I was wrong as I got older the urge got stronger and it’s till now that I’ve gotten involed with a girl and heel over heels over the moon about her I love her so much, and I never thought I could love someone with all my heart she completes me I don’t go a day not thinking about her and what we share and how far we have come.


Renea March 3, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Mary it’s really great to have found your site. At 47 years old and after having adopted a toddler with the assumption that I’d find “Mr. Right” after I had the child in my life (I searched in my early 40′s for him and all the men ran when I said I wanted a child), I have come to realize that I have always been attracted to women. I came to this realization while sitting weekly with my daughter’s therapist. The woman was very attractive and at some point seemed to be flirting with me. Initially I thought “What is her problem?” But as time went on I found myself attracted to her and not able to stop thinking about her. Then I really became honest with myself and acknowledged that I have liked females since I was in the second grade – if not sooner. In the 8th grade when I was totally obsessed with girls, I was teased by friends and quickly “changed my tune”. . . I lived in the South and this just wasn’t acceptable. From that time forward I dated a bevy of men… even was engaged for a short time. But there was always a “wall” there for me. Men said I was difficult to know… unapproachable…. guarded. I didn’t understand what they meant. But I now realize that my being “guarded” was really more about me just not connecting. So…. now I’m trying to figure out how to move forward. I have joined few lesbian sites on Meetup and have just joined a lesbian dating site. But oy! I’m clueless. I really appreciate your blog because you are giving me a peek into the rules of this new life. I haven’t come out to anyone yet… Just trying to figure it out. But want to let you know how much I appreciate your site!


Saaya March 4, 2014 at 1:17 AM

I know this article is a little old but I’m glad I found it. I watch many videos about lesbians and coming out stories and I always felt ‘isn’t there anyone like me out there?’. I was always involved in the LGBTQ community and events, from my teens onwards most my friends were gay, lesbians of bi… but despite always telling people I was bi, I only said it because I really wouldn’t mind dating a girl if I feel for one. But I always dates men, usually one that started as a friend. They always ended up as friends. In the end I married one who was my best friend and we were married for 11 years. 4 years ago we divorced. I began to think that maybe half of those 11 years were not very good, and looking back, I was always rather awkward being hit on my men, or chatting them up, and I thought, back in the days, it was poor social skill. Now I realised it’s not really, I’m just not into men like I tried to be my whole life.

Most lesbians come out when they realise they like another girl, so that’s something I haven’t experienced. I simply know, after 4 years single for the first time since I was 15, that I’m not straight.

I’m really scared of the lesbian community because they all seem so certain of themselves and many have prejudice about older women coming out (i’m 35) or women who dated men. It seems so full or rules it puts me off. At the same time, I want to meet people who have similar life style.

This article helped a lot, I’m glad I’m not alone.


Karen March 12, 2014 at 11:17 PM

I am 49 and was in love with a woman for 5 years – head over heals in love with her. Our relationship swung from lesbian lovers to we’re just best friends and I loved the lesbian part of us. She was feeling guilty about what she was doing with me when she was married and my feelings were crushed when she finally chose him. It has been very emotional because I was an intricate part of the ENTIRE family – I found myself even thinking of myself as her partner even though she was married to a man who absolutely adored her. When I first revealed my love for her she was in shock. I am by nature very quiet and reserved but I fell completely in love with her. She told her husband about my feelings and he felt that because we were so close it was understandable. After that we pursued each other – talking on the phone several times a day, texting each other, sexting each other and so on. I revealed my affair with a couple of close friends and it helped me validate the relationship for me but she kept up with the swinging from lesbians to feeling guilty being married to lets just work on our best friendship. When I had revealed my feelings to her I was married but had been unhappy for several years – I was overweight and was not interested in sexual relations with my husband. When Lori and I started getting closer it was wonderful. We became friends when we were 13 and the friendship ebbed and weaned like the tides for years. When my mother passed away in 2003 Lori made a vow to her that she would take care of me. She took me under her wing and we started a whole new level of friendship. It was special – better than we ever had it. We shared things very intimately in regards to our children, our husbands, other friends and our ever changing relationship. The women in her family started a “sleepover” weekend every other month. There were 8 of us and it was awesome. We started looking forward to that weekend and considered it our getaway from life for a minute. We stayed up all night just talking. Things became deeper and I started thinking of how much more she took care of me in ways that nobody has ever taken care of me in my entire life. You can imagine her shock when I revealed my true hearts desires to her that I was in love with her and wanted each of us to leave our husbands and be together. She was intrigued by the fact that I loved her so much. To my surprise and pang of disappointment she revealed something to me – that she had similar feelings for another woman at her job. Here I have feelings for her and she has feelings for someone that is NOT me. This exchange went on for several months. She flirted very heavily with this other woman and would share that with me – it crushed me but my heart waited for the feelings to be returned to me. I didn’t think I stood a chance. Then one day she announced that her co-worker was being transferred and that she had to tell her that she is a married woman and couldn’t do this to her husband. The other woman was disheartened but didn’t fight for the affections that were coming from Lori. I still held out hope. She finally seemed to be returning the feelings to me but after our love making she would state that she felt guilty and to imagine her family standing around our bed. So I would take that emotional abuse and then she would pull me in to the lesbian side of us just to push me away due to her guilt. This went on and on and it was just something that I accepted. She would always say that if she weren’t with her husband that she would be with me. After awhile even that faded and I was losing hope. Last June I lost my job and was struggling financially and wasn’t sure how I was going to hold onto my apartment. She suggested that I move in with her and her family and my heart sang – my wish had come true. Finally we could be together. She made sure to tell me that NOTHING could happen between us in HER house. I became lonelier and lonelier – aching for her affections. I became depressed and started eating uncontrollably – which would have been fine but I had been overweight and lost quite a few pounds and it was coming back living in my world of happy with her. She continued to pull farther and farther away from me and I would become sad which angered her. The only way that she could “fix” it was by “allowing” me to make love to her, to touch her somehow only to immediately throw the guilt trip at me. Everyone in my life would try to tell me that it was an unhealthy relationship but I refused to listen – I pushed a lot of people away because of her. I finally was able to get a great job and I became a little happier and started accepting the situation as she saw it – that we are best friends and not lesbian lovers. There happened to be a co-worker that is a lesbian and she reminded me of Lori. I was attracted to her and revealed this to Lori. She immediately became angry and jealous which angered me because I thought that we were just best friends. The entire time that I was in this crazy back and forth teeter totter with her NEVER did I consider myself wanting to pursue another woman. Our company was going to have an after Christmas event and I was to meet Lori afterwards right next door. I approached my co-worker that is a lesbian and asked her how long she had wanted to be with a woman. It was at that moment that I KNEW that I truly wanted to be with a woman and it was me that decided to walk away from Lori – the saddest part is not only was this a 5 year struggle it was a 35 year best friend relationship. My heart still needs healing time. I know that I want to be with a woman – emotionally, physically and relationship wise. I have a lot to offer a woman – more so than a man. I am kind, giving, loving, sweet, understanding, patient, spiritual, funny, serious, and so much more. I hope that people learn from my experience and get out of an unhealthy relationship – there ARE good women out there that are looking for you just as they are looking for me. Be kind to the woman who loves you because her heart deserves to be loved just as her heart loves you. Peace to those women who have been abused emotionally – my heart feels your pain and doesn’t EVER want that pain again. Thanks for this sight :-)


Mary Malia March 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Hi Karen,
Wow what a story! Finding out way to our own personal truth can sometimes be very hard. Lori, though never to be your lover, certainly helped you discover and really empower yourself to accept yourself as a lesbian and to decide not to play second fiddle anymore. I want to thank you for sharing your story too. It’s a lesson that many women walk through and I hear this same or similar story often.

I hope what it inspires in women who read it is to have the courage to admit sooner than later when someone is not available and doesn’t love you first and best. This kind of relationship will always leave you feeling hollow and hurt and for you Karen it meant you turned to food to quiet the pain. And the loneliest people are those that are in a “relationship” where there isn’t a sharing of real love.

Good luck in your new life!! Cheers to never going back to that kind of pain again.
xoxo, Mary


Melanie March 15, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Wow seriously? There are lesbian rules and you’re looked down upon if you’ve ever been with a man?

I’ve thought I was a lesbian on and off through most of my life but for various reasons never thought to explore it. Now, at 52, I find myself attracted to a woman. She says shes straight, but I am still attracted to her. I’m not sure how it will all turn out, but honestly if it werent for my wildly strong attraction to her, I wouldnt be giving any of this a second thought and would be happy living the rest of my life by myself.

Even if I AM a lesbian, unless this woman that I am attracted to wants to try a relationship with me I wouldnt be pursuing anything further. I’m just shocked at this blog post… what the heck is with people?? I was married once for two years and have had sex with a handful of men. I dont really care where you come from (she was married and has adult children) I care that I find you hot both physically and mentally (she is).

So ridiculous.


Mary Malia March 17, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Hi Melanie,
One of the things that makes life interesting is that so many people have so many different ways to look at things. Women coming out later in life are often shocked by old time lesbian culture. I’m so glad you took a few minutes to respond. I think that women are more fluid/flexible in their sexual identities (well some women!) and I meet women all the time through this site who have discovered their attraction to women seemingly by accident. Good luck in your situation. Everything is a lesson, everyone is a teacher. Thanks, Mary


Mary April 7, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Mary, your article touched me deeply. I had read quite a few of your other articles but this one, I came across quite by chance. I came out when I was 45. I’d always known I was attracted to women but due to my religious upbringing and west indian culture; although born and bred in London I didnt dare come out. I got married; was married for twenty years before finally having the courage to confront all the pain and heart ache remaining silent had caused in my life.
I have found the experience of coming out exactly as you describe it; a sharp learning curve that has left me bewildered and confused. There are days when it seems far easier to just stop trying to become part of the lesbian community and a partner. I had a short lived relationship with a lovely woman who was bisexual that ended. I found the lgbt community where I live large, established and entirely suspicious of me. I dated a few women who asked me the same questions; how long had I been out; did i have kids; how old were they, were the kids from insemination or a man!!!! I felt like I was part of some elaborate test that I would ultimately fail and yes, i always did.
My style of dress is quite fem; it was the old stereo type of it being assumed I was bicurious or bisexual. Judgement was made just by what I looked like and who I had slept with.
I have now met a lovely lady. Not sure where it will go; I am quite frankly very cautious in this dating game and expect absolutely nothing but welcome the opportunity to be surprised but perhaps my past experiences with other women who are so judgemental has ruined me; A small persistent voice does continue to whisper that in my forties I have quite frankly left it too late. That the women who might date me will not because they do not see me but baggage and complication.
A sad state of affairs as I adore women, love being out but its like finally getting to the prom with that fabulous dress only to find the parties been moved elsewhere. I love women but resent lesbians who will not or cannot get over themselves and give a woman who has taken that life altering step of owning her truth a chance.
ok. That’s my rant over. x


Shanna April 11, 2014 at 5:59 PM

What I have found hard is to not so much date (I am still married) but making friends within the community. but at 36 I’ve now accepted I am bisexual and since I am very much a tomboy and consider myself soft butch. I’m tall, athleticly built and you won’t catch me in a dress unless someone died. I have had women come for as long as I can remember, and before I just ignored it until I met someone who changed my outlook on it about four years ago. I never cheated, but the thoughts were there. Now, my husband and I have been together for fifteen years, and while we don’t have children we have been through a lot together (the illness and loss of his parents as well as my father’s battle with cancer. When my dad died in 2010…that changed everything. The same year I had a miscarriage and began getting closer to my writting partner. Things were rocky at the time with my husband but I did not have an affair. Now, I know I’m bi, but I just want to get comfortable with the community, not just hook up with some random chick. I’m not a bar person unless I’m at a party or watching a game so what avenue is there t. Find people for platonic friendship.


aa April 15, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Through my entire life I have believed that I am straight. I am attracted to men. I enjoy sex with men. However, for the past couple years I have had an interest in more ‘butch’ (for lack of a better term) women. I wasn’t sure why, and still denied any possibility of actually being attracted to a woman (because butch women look more like men than femme women, so I can justify that I’m really just attracted to men, and maybe some women who look like men, right? … wrong). Then, back in September of 2013 I had an encounter with a beautiful (and definitely more femme than butch) woman. She was amazing. Kind. Gentle. Intelligent. Funny. Did I mention beautiful? Nothing sexual happened between us, but I was intoxicated enough to let her in on my recent sexual confusion, which I have not shared with another single soul, except her (straight) friend who was also with us. [[Oh, it doesn't help that my parents have told me, since I was young, that I am probably a lesbian -- and I have several queer relatives.]] Anyways, through that night, we kind of got close on the couch and cuddled a bit before we ended up falling asleep until her alarm went off, and she and her friend got a cab home. EVER SINCE THAT NIGHT I cannot get her out of my head…and I am in a deeply committed heterosexual relationship with a man whom I love. Aside from this woman, I have since been attracted to a couple other women and every time I get that “feeling” (you know the one) I get so confused. I am started to identify myself as bisexual (because I still am attracted to men, and enjoy sex with men). However, I have *never* had a sexual experience with a woman. When my friends in high school were making out with each other for the entertainment of our male friends, I thought it was idiotic and never partook. I have never kissed a woman. And I had never touched any woman (except the one mentioned above), and felt anything. I really wouldn’t want a woman to feel like I was just “experimenting”. It’s not an experimentation thing. I have a legitimate attraction to women… and men. And the fact that I am in a long-term relationship with a man I love and care about doesn’t make this any easier. I just don’t know what to do, and I don’t have anyone to talk to about it.

Thank you Mary, for being awesome, and having such a great site.


Anna Hayward April 18, 2014 at 8:03 PM

I’m so lucky because I came out in my 40s and my now civil partner came out at the same time. So we ‘got’ each other and I never had to go through the agonies of looking for a girlfriend and trying to explain the three kids and ex-husband; and the inconvenient fact that I wasn’t aware of my sexuality for decades. Maybe it’s because I am autistic that I found it tricky to understand my emotions? I wanted to be ‘normal’, to be accepted, so I copied the behaviour I found around me. That behaviour was straight, so I did what ‘normal’ straight girls do (especially if their fundamentalist christians) and found a husband. It was only when he came out that it suddenly clicked – so THAT was why I was different, not just the autism? I’d always thought I was just broken or asexual or something, with a strange penchant for Shakira and Sugarbabes videos. The downside is that I don’t feel part of the lesbian community. It was nice to read this blog, because sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person in the world to go through their adult life not knowing that the thing that is ‘wrong’ with them is simply that they are gay.


Kate June 22, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Thank you for this article, after thinking I was bisexual from 16 to 26, I broke up with my partner of 3 years due to no attraction anymore. After a year of soul searching, and experimenting with other men to see if it was “just him”, it turns out I am 100% GAY!!! I just turned thirty and have had my first girlfriend, and heart break, but I’m confused because I love penetration, (toys) but I find men unattractive, not ugly, but not hot, just no feeling whatsoever. Does the fact I like penetration (even though I feel lesbian) make me bi? Some girls are really judgemental that using anything “else” makes you not one hundred percent lesbian, and it’s frustrating! What’s your in put? Do I classify as a ‘late bloomer’


Mary Malia June 29, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Hi Kate,
Coming out at 30 isn’t really late in life, so no worries there. And penetration is loved, enjoyed and appreciated by many lesbians. Now there are some women who hate penetration of any kind and that’s ok too. Don’t let anyone else’s personal sexual preferences determine what you do and enjoy sexually. You are as lesbian as YOU chose to decide. No one gets to determine that for you. Enjoy it. Enjoy the women you date. Enjoy using sex toys. Live a life of no regrets!!

xoxo, Mary


dee July 17, 2014 at 12:19 AM

Hi Mary,
Thanks for this wonderful article. I feel relieved I am not the only one in this situation alost at the brink of becoming a hermit! I was married for 11 years, i have 3 kids.finally, I realized after falling head over heels for my best female friend that I an a lesbian. My marriage fell apart, my friend is no longer in my life, and I can totally relate to what you are mentionin in your article. I hope there is a happy ending to my story.


Joy Parrott July 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

I also came out later in life. I have always liked girls though. My main problems of lately is I’m so feminine…I’m invisible. If you’re invisible you really don’t exist. I am also private at work and that is the only place I am not comfortable with my being a lesbian. I’m a 43 year old with a rainbow bracelet,craziness!


Jen August 2, 2014 at 5:08 PM

I am 26 years old and for most of life dated men. I considered myself bisexual and often fell I love with my best girl friends. After my last relationship with a man I started realizing that I want to be with a woman. It was hard in the beginning because I didn’t know anyone, but over time I made a couple friends who were gay. I eventually told my family that I wanted to be with women when I starting seeing a girl I really liked…it really hurt when they told me this was just a phase and that eventually I will be with a man…in other words they didn’t accept this… All of my friends and co-workers have supported me.It’s been almost a year that I have been dating women, and after a few heart breaks I finally met one that I can now call my girlfriend. The problem is that my family doesn’t seem to happy or interested in my new relationship at all. I am scared to bring her around or talk to them about her. It hurts that they think I’m just confused or experimenting because being attracted andfalling in love with woman has happen many times in my life. What to do…


Mary Malia August 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Hi Jen,
One of the big things we do as we become adults is stop trying to make our families happy. That’s not why you exist. You must find your own way in life and that includes who you love. When you stop seeking your parents, family or friends approval you finally become free to be you, there’s more peace in your life. And honestly, most families come around after a while. Congratulations on finding love!


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